A systematic and critical review of life cycle approaches to assess circular economy pathways in the agri-food sector

Teodora Stillitano, Emanuele Spada, Nathalie Iofrida, Giacomo Falcone, Anna Irene De Luca


This study provides a literature review of life cycle approaches used to assess circular economy (CE) pathways in the agri-food sector. The scope of this review is to understand how and how much the LC-based analysis is useful to evaluate if CE strategies are more sustainable than linear/traditional economic models in agri-food production systems. To carry out the systematic and critical literature review the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) protocol was employed. The literature search was performed employing scientific databases (Scopus and Web of Science). The results highlight that 52 case studies out of 84 (62% of the total) use stand-alone life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the benefits/impacts of circular economy strategies. Only eight studies (9.5%) deal with the life cycle costing (LCC) approach combined with other analyses, while no paper deals with the social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) methodology. We argue that experts in life cycle methodologies must strive to adopt some key elements to ensure that the results obtained fit perfectly with the measurements of circularity and that these can even be largely based on a common basis.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2021.2116

ISSN 2194-511X


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